Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Leaders Are PROVEN to have less Ear Wax Build Up

Leaders are proven to have less ‘earwax build-up’

It’s not so much that God doesn’t speak anymore as that we are usually just too busy to hear. A leader’s key responsibility is to combat earwax build-up on a daily basis. To grab the ol Q-Tip swab and get that nasty stuff out of the way so he/she can hear clearly what God might want to say.

A few very practical ways I’ve found to hear better is to…
1. Keep an up to date ‘organizer’ with meetings and task list
. ‘On the paper, off the mind’ so that my brain is not having to ‘work’ at remembering all that stuff. When we leave all that stuff in our head it’s like having too many programs open on your computer at the same time. All those ‘open Windows’ cause our brains to keep a lot of ‘stuff’ in the system tray and diminishes our ability to really hear from God.

2. Actually USE your task list and check em off when you get em done. Just keeping things flowing – even little ones…keeps our brain ‘happy’ so it won’t be pestering us all the time about its ‘internal task list’. (This ‘reminder’ system in your brain is extremely powerful. Some have called in the ‘RAS’ – Reticular Activating System. It serves as a homing device so that once your brain has a target it keeps on working on it till the mission is accomplished. That’s where ‘flashes’ of genius standing in the shower come from. The R.A.S. is always ‘on’ and always serving us. Keeping little tasks cleared out allows the R.A.S. to serve us at the highest level for the greatest good.)

3. Give yourself space and time to BE fully present with God. I have the attention span of a gnat. Or as a great author once put it, “when I kneel down to pray it’s like my brain becomes a banana tree with 100 monkeys jumping up and down on the branches.” The first time I read that quote I laughed a long time, because I ‘feel’ his problem. Here’s how I quiet the monkeys:
I take time to journal and jot notes in my organizer (see 1 and 2) so that my brain will ‘leave me alone’ for a little while.
When it comes time to pray in earnest I actually like to write or type my prayers because it helps to keep me on track. And, if I do wander off down mental side trail I can recover easily and come back to the task at hand.
If my brain ‘bugs’ me about something I like to just jot a quick note so that I can take of it later. That allows my brain to quit ‘bugging’ me so that I can focus better.

I worship best outdoors on a long walk, or beside a lake, or near a stream, or just watching the clouds. That’s prime time for me to hear from God. That’s when it seems like I’m most clear about what He’s up to and what He wants me to do next. I can’t always get outside or take a long walk every day, but I schedule weekly ‘dates with God’ to allow me the time and energy to get alone with Him.
I’ve found that ‘praying without ceasing’ is not really a big deal when I just talk to Him and listen for Him all day everyday. In the smallest things and in the ‘biggest stuff’ God is active and moving and speaking. When I raise the antenna and dial up His frequency there’s a lot to be heard. I’ve learned that all of life is spiritual and that the frequency of heaven can always be picked up by a heart tuned to God. So, I’m learning to pray ‘as I go’ prayers – just simple chats with God about whatever is on the ‘tip of my brain’.

I’ve learned to let all of life be worship – to know that God doesn’t waste anything. That when I’m changing a diaper I can be glad that I will be changed, too. That when I’m taking out the trash that Jesus is willing to clean the trash out of my life. It’s just that the reality of my life is that I have 3 great kids, a wonderful wife, a huge ministry that gets bigger daily and nearly 3 acres of grass to beat back quite often. So, I don’t always have the luxury of weeks spent in monastic quiet places to commune with God. Often my time with god comes in the ‘to go’ variety. And, what I’m learning is that ‘to go’ with god is still worship when I let it be. In short, I’m not trying to separate life into tidy components anymore. I’m willing to carve out significant blocks of time everywhere I can and yet, embrace the ‘daily-ness’ of life. Just to prove my point, my 7-year-old son just came in with a ‘hunger alert’ and in a few minutes I’ll be upstairs trying to figure out what to do with poptarts and peanut butter and you’ve got to know that both me and the boys will be praying for a miracle that something good will come from my efforts.

4. Nomads should go wireless. I’ve learned and embraced the fact that I’m a ‘nomadic’ worker. That if I’m confined to one environment for very long I get a little crazy and crusty. Because of the wireless revolution and the advent of great machines called ‘laptops’ I can be as nomadic as my heart desires and even more productive than ever. Just give me my laptop, a shot of XS Energy Drink, and my PCS Phone with headset and I’m a ‘very productive, highly happy nomad’. I know most of you don’t have the privilege of working in a flexible manner. I’m sorry for you and I don’t know how you do it! I’d encourage you nomad types to find a less restrictive work situation so you can be who you really are.

5. Go to bed at a reasonable time! Sounds simple, but when you are an ‘inspired worker’ type like me sometimes it’s hard to shut it down. I’m working on this one, but I’m learning that I really do operate much more effectively when I’m not fighting sleep depravation. I enjoy the quiet of the mornings before the rest of my thundering herd is romping across the plains of the living room, so just knowing that I may have a few moments with HIM inspires me to hit the pillow earlier in the evening. The rewards of the ‘discipline’ of going to bed early and rising early are very worth it. But, don’t be surprised if you still get an occasional email from me at some ridiculous time of the wee hours! I’m also learning to be okay with an occasional ‘power nap’ to recharge the mental batteries. Worked for a lot of our U.S. Presidents so, I guess it can work for me too. (Maybe one day I’ll lead a national campaign to institute a daily siesta here in the good ol U.S.A. – what d’ya think about that?)

So, aspiring leader, your greatest joy will come from walking with God and hearing from Him clearly. You will be most useful to Him when you are hearing most clearly from Him.

Take out the ol q-tip and clean out that ear-wax and hear what you’ve been missing.

In my informal poll of one guy whose studied a lot of leaders and wannabe leaders in the Bible and beyond he’s 100% sure that the greatest leaders are proven to have far less ear wax build up.

So, I’m off to roast some pop tarts, why don’t you go grab the Q-tips?

See ya later,
Jeff
p.s. If you are a 'rising leader' who's excited about advancing the Kingdom of God, then you'll want to grab some great FREE resources over at www.risingleaderalliance.com

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